Are you adding Málaga old town to your travel wishlist?
I couldn’t agree more!
Málaga and it’s historic city center is one of the most popular destinations on Costa del Sol in Southern Spain, and the biggest travel hub for Southern Spain explorations.
Whether you’re staying in Malaga for your trip, or coming to the city for a day trip, there are so many exciting tips you can discover and explore.
As I’ve been living next to Málaga on Costa del Sol since 2020, and have seen almost everything that the old town Malaga has to offer.
In this list post, I will share some highlights, along with some personal favorites, to give you a good mix of things to do and see.
Let’s dive in!
PS: This post has some affiliate links – if you book your tickets or tour through them, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me to run this site.
TOP PICK FOR MALAGA OLD TOWN
Málaga City Centre: Popular Tours & Tickets
If you don’t want to read the whole article, here are the most popular tickets, tours and experiences you can book right away!
- Sunset Catamaran Trip with a Glass of Cava Included
- Alcazaba and Roman Theatre Guided Tour With Entry
- Entrance to Picasso Museum with Audio Guide
- Flamenco Show at Tablao Alegría
- Caminito del Rey Guided Tour with Malaga pick up
- Private Full-Day Bus Trip to Ronda and Setenil with Malaga pick up
- Granada Full-Day Trip with Alhambra
Where is Malaga Old Town: Map Location
The first thing you need to know is where Málaga is in its old town!
The old town’s center is spreading around the Cathedral as one of its main landmarks, stretching all the way to Castillo Gibralfaro on one side, and the river Guadalmedina on the other side.
If you’re coming to the city by train, you can leave Málaga Centro station and walk to the historic center in just 10 minutes. You can see the old town marked on the map below.
17 Best Things to Do in Malaga Old Town
Málaga’s historic city center is a small place, but it offers various experiences that will cater to any taste.
Below is a selection of the highlights, along with a few hidden gems thrown in between.
1. Stroll the Narrow Streets of Malaga Historic Center
The easiest and often the best way to enjoy the historic center is to stroll down the narrow streets and enjoy the local architecture and views.
If you can, head to the old town before the world wakes up shortly after sunrise to have the streets only to yourself in the beautiful morning light.
Grab a traditional Spanish breakfast, or opt for the sweet alternative of churros and hot chocolate and watch the city wake up.
Although technically Muelle Uno is not in the historic city center, it would be a shame to miss out on this experience.
Only about 10-minute walk from the city center area, you will reach the port area of Málaga with massive luxury yachts and cruise ships docking on the sides.
There are also local cruise companies offering short but wonderful cruising experiences on board a luxury catamaran. I took this trip twice myself, and even saw dolphins with babies in the wild!
As a bonus point – you get a FREE glass of cava for this trip!
This tour runs even in winter, but gets booked up pretty quickly. Book yours via the button below.
3. Enjoy a Drink at Plaza del Obispo
Plaza del Obispo is one of my favorite squares in the city, it’s directly opposite the cathedral, offering some of the best views.
I have very fond memories of this place as I remember drinking sangria there when I first time visited Spain over 10 years ago.
While enjoying a drink in this area is a great idea, I would not recommend eating there. One of the places (L’Experience) is recommended by many local restaurant guides and it’s certainly not worth your money, and a tourist trap as you would expect for this location.
Plaza del Obispo is very busy and popular, which also means it attracts a lot of beggars, street musicians and street sellers. Beware of that as you might be harassed more than once as you enjoy your drink.
4. Visit Malaga Cathedral
No visit to Málaga is complete without seeing its famous cathedral.
This stunning Renaissance building from 1528 was built on the site of a former mosque, and to date is missing one of its towers, earning it the name La Manquita, which means one armed woman.
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If you’re planning a visit to the Cathedral, check the schedule in advance, so you can get tickets to the tower (they are limited) and also check the timing for the tour of the Cathedral rooftops which is well worth a visit.
Enjoy a traditional Flamenco show in the heart of Málaga and immerse yourself in the traditional music and dance of Andalucia.
This experience include tickets to the show, and you also have an option to update and add drinks and tapas to the experience.
The show is available 7 days a week and has a free cancelation policy, up to 24 hours before the show.
6. Stroll Through Plaza de la Constitution
The central square of the old town is Constitution square with a marble fountain Genoa in the middle, and the square leads directly to one of the most famous streets in the city – Calle de Larios (see below).
Plaza de la Constitution is an important place for the city as it’s the location of most of the festivities and festivals held in Málaga. Around the square, you will find some of the most spectacular buildings in the old town.
7. Shopping at Calle Marques de Larios
Continuing from Plaza de la Constitution down the road towards the coastline, you will find a wide road that’s filled with shops on each side. Calle Marques de Larios is the main shopping street in Málaga, and known to be one of the most expensive places in Spain to own a property.
The street is especially famous for its beautiful extravagant display of Christmas lights that line the whole streets and are celebrated each year at the end of November with a spectacular light show.
For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Picasso Museum will be one of the highlights of the trip to Málaga. For the rest of us, it’s an interesting place to explore and see some more of his work, along with photos from his personal life.
If you prefer exploring more about his life rather than his art pieces, there’s more to learn in this birth house which I mentioned below.
Picasso Museum is very popular and oftentimes there are long queues to get into the museum, so get your tickets in advance if you can, especially if you’re traveling in the main summer season.
The Alcazaba is another one of the highlights of the old town in Málaga.
Alcazaba dates back to the 11th century and was built under the Muslim rule of Al Andalus. If you’ve visited the Alhambra before, you will notice some similarities in the architectural features displayed at the main palatial section.
Malaga’s Alcazaba is one of the best-preserved fortresses in Spain and one of the most visited monuments in the city centre.
10. Check Out The Roman Theater
Right under the Alcazaba you will find an old Roman Theater, dating back to the 1st century BC. It’s one of the most preserved examples I’ve seen, with a clearly defined stage and seats for seating.
You can enjoy views of it from the walkway that goes alongside the Alcazaba, and get an aerial view of it once you enter Alcazaba fortress.
11. Plaza de la Merced and Picasso’s Birth House
Another big square in the city centre lined with trees and beautiful historic buildings is the Plaza de la Merced, known mostly for the location of the birth home of Pablo Picasso.
His original home has been converted to a museum which displays some artefacts from his life and allows you to learn more about him as an artist.
12. Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
This gothic church from 1920 is also located in the old town, and if you can’t make it to Málaga Cathedral, seeing this church will certainly make up for it.
If you want to experience the historic city centre under the guidance of a local expert, booking a walking tour is a great idea.
This tour is a 3 hour walk through the highlights of Málaga, and it also includes tickets to the Cathedral, Roman Theater and Alcazaba. That means you will learn a lot and cover all the must-see places within just a 3 hour easy walking trip.
These tours come with free cancellation up to 24 hours before your trip.
14. Visit the Atarazanas Food Market
If you love good food and an authentic atmosphere, then a visit to the local food market is a must.
The Atarazanas food market is located in a beautiful historic building, with lots of stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and a few tapas bars where you can get a quick snack with a drink.
I don’t know about you, but I love exploring new city through culinary experiences.
While Malaga might not be the tapas capital of Spain, it certainly offers plenty of options to spoil your taste buds.
If you want to avoid the tourist traps (and there are plenty in the historic city center), and learn more about the local cuisine and food origins, I highly recommend booking a local wine and tapas tour (linked below).
After a long day of exploring, why not indulge yourself in the experience of traditional hammam baths?
The Hammam Al Andalus is conveniently located in the old historic center, with lots of exciting rituals and massage options available, or you can just enjoy access to their plunge pull and get a break from the buzz of the city.
Book a standard treatment with access via the link below.
17. Visit the Wine Museum of Malaga
Malaga’s wine region is famous for its wine varieties, which you get a chance to taste in almost all of the local establishments.
While visiting a winery is certainly an option, if you want to stay inside the town you can pop over to the wine museum, where you get a chance to explore the wines and the history of the region.
The tickets are only 5 euros per person and also include a tasting of two local wines.
Book via their website here.
Insider Tips for Malaga Old Town
The best thing about the city centre is that it’s pretty compact, so you can easily explore on foot, without the need for taxis or car rental.
Just by walking around, there are so many pretty places to discover, so you won’t run out of ideas on what to do.
A word of warning though.
In the summer months, the city gets pretty crowded with hundreds of tourists descending on the city from bus trips and also the cruise ships that dock in the marina, so don’t be surprised if you see huge crowds of tourists heading to one of the main attractions.
Keep this in mind when you plan your visit, especially in the summer, and try to see the main attractions first thing in the morning when it’s still relatively peaceful.
Restaurants in Malaga Old Historic Center
So what are the best places to eat?
In my experience, most of the establishments in the historic quarter are tourist traps, and finding true local gems is pretty difficult unless you’re eating out and testing new restaurants every weekend.
The few places that I really like are Pez Lola and Casa Lola (they have the same owner).
Frequent Questions about Malaga Old Town
So there you have it, 17 cool things to do in Malaga’s old town, whether you like museums or culinary experiences.
If you want to explore everything else Malaga has to offer, check out my article recommendations at the bottom of the post! Here are some frequent questions with answers.
Is Malaga Old Town nice?
Yes, Malaga old town is very nice and a wonderful place to explore on foot! You can reach Gibralfaro castle, the Alcazaba, Picasso Museum and other main attractions within a short walk from the historic city center.
What is the historic town near Malaga?
The main historic town near Malaga is Antequera. It has a rich history with lots of interesting monuments like the prehistoric dolmens, Torqual de Antequera national park, Roman baths, Moorish castle and many beautiful churches.
How far is Malaga Old Town from train station?
The distance between Malaga old town and the train station (Malaga Centro) is approximately 700 meters. I have walked from the station to the old town many times, and it takes only about 10 to 15 minutes.
How far is Malaga Old Town from Malaga bus station?
It depends on where in the old town you need to get to, but it’s certainly not within walking distance. If you take a taxi, it will be roughly 10 minute’s drive depending on the traffic in the city.
How old is Malaga?
Malaga is approximately 2800 years old, according to current records.
What is Malaga’s old town called?
Officially it is known as Malaga historic center, but in Spanish, you will also see it under Casco Antiguo.
What is Malaga’s old town like?
The old town is a maze of narrow cobbled streets with small squares where they meet, lined with cute cafes, restaurants and pubs. During the day it’s busy with tourists hunting local souvenirs, and in the evening, locals and tourists alike come here to enjoy the nightlife.
Where Not to Stay in Malaga?
There are a few areas in Malaga where you shouldn’t consider staying. These include: Palma-Palmilla, La Trinidad, Lagunillas and El Palo. If you’re planning to stay in the city I recommend checking hotels near the historic center.